Saturday, February 26, 2011

Richard III Society

Tonight I was surprised to find something called The Richard III Society on the internet. It is not an international confederacy of assassination-minded dictators, nor a bad historical romance novel (either of which could be a menace to society). Rather, it is a club with the following mission:
In the belief that many features of the traditional accounts of the character and career of Richard III are neither supported by sufficient evidence nor reasonably tenable, the Society aims to promote, in every possible way, research into the life and times of Richard III, and to secure a reassessment of the material relating to this period, and of the role of this monarch in English history...

Richard’s infamy over the centuries has been due to the continuing popularity, and the belief in, the picture painted of Richard III by William Shakespeare in his play of that name. The validity of this representation of Richard has been queried over the centuries and has now been taken up by the Society.

The Society has over 3,500 members worldwide. It operates on many levels and is open to laymen and historians alike...
A whole society dedicated to vindicating and defending King Richard! Interesting, hm? Their website is here.

I find it somewhat touching that Richard has his partisans, after all this time. There seem to be plenty of them - their membership numbers are rather astonishing in fact, especially given that it'll cost you 26 quid to join up. And the most notable member would have to be their patron, the current Duke of Gloucester, whose name is actually Richard (!).

But what of the wicked Richard of Shakespeare, the "the troubler of the poore Worlds peace"? "Tudor propaganda," says the Richard III Society. Do we agree? Was the historical Richard innocent? C-Span may have the answer...

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